CHAPTER 40 - Fury By Another Name (2)
Alex ducked under the left hook and side-stepped, delivering a rabbit punch to the other man’s side. Encis stumbled back, coughing a bit, but still smiling widely. Alex’s own face was a calm, expressionless façade. His eyes drank in every subtle move Encis took, pre-empting the blows with counterattacks before the man even swung.
In the distance, all of his comrades were running towards him. He wasn’t focused on them, instead keeping the other Draco Albus members in his sight to ensure they wouldn’t interfere.
Encis shook his arms, enhancing blood flow as he danced in and threw a feint. Alex read it and brought his knee up to block the kick that followed.
“Hey, look at this! There aren’t many mages as skilled in melee combat as you. That’s why the bitch back there has two dedicated guards! But what style is that? I’ve never seen it before!”
“MACP. Custom style built by my unit, I guess you could say.”
Alex had replied almost instinctively, not bothering to devote much of his thinking to the man’s words of provocation. He caught Encis’s wrist as he tried to throw a haymaker. He used his opponent’s momentum and pulled the arm down. A step and a half, and he was behind Encis, pinning the arm to his back.
Just as he tried to use his leverage to force the man to the ground, Encis jumped forward. There was a sickening sound as Encis's shoulder was ripped from the socket. Surprised, Alex lost his grip, and Encis spun to face him, the arm dangling awkwardly at his side.
Encis grabbed his upper arm with his free hand and popped his shoulder back into place. Alex couldn’t tell if it was a reaction to the pain or just this man’s insanity, but Encis began to laugh as he resumed his stance.
“I dig it! It’s efficient. You move to subdue me, or even kill me. No wasted effort, am I right?”
Alex nodded and attempted to sweep Encis’s legs. A short hop from the other man foiled the plan, though, and he kept talking.
“Yeah, see, that’s what they should teach in my unit. Instead, it’s all about defending yourself. They think that your focus should be on escaping and getting your weapon back.”
His skin began to glow a faint green and Alex tried to create some distance between them. He wasn’t quick enough, though, and the magic-enhanced demon closed the gap, delivering a heavy blow to Alex’s stomach.
“But there’s just no feeling like when someone’s life is being taken by your bare hands.”
Alex coughed and the world spun as the wind was knocked from his lungs. He staggered back and tried to regain his focus. In his fist, the piece of white metal chalk emerged, and he started writing on his arm, followed shortly by a yellow mist covering his body.
“Oh, there we go! Guess I’m not the only one that uses enhancement magic, huh? So what do you think will win? My wind magic, or your earth spell? Wait… Earth spell?”
Alex took the opportunity of Encis’s momentary confusion to step in. His muscles swelled as he crouched. Springing back to full height, his uppercut connected with Encis’s chin, lifting the man from the ground by a few feet and sending him flying back.
“Oh, did I forget to mention? I can use every element.”
Encis looked up at Alex and wiped some blood from his mouth before rubbing his jaw.
“Shit, man! If I hadn’t softened that blow, you mighta really killed me!”
Alex started walking over with slow, deliberate steps.
“Well, guess I’ll just need to try again, won’t I?”
It was at that moment that something looking like an icicle shot past him, cutting a large chunk of flesh from his right thigh. He winced and fell to his knee, looking over at the other demons just as the woman finished her spell. She was already preparing another one.
‘Alex, run! She was using dark and earth elements earlier, so she’s got three attributes!’
He felt as though he was being watched, but he continued to stare at the woman. Encis saw the gash, and he leaped back to his feet in one motion.
“Stupid bitch! Right, I’ma kill her. You just stay he-“
Encis was walking towards Victa and her guards when she finished her spell. He looked down, his hand reaching towards the large shard of ice piercing his abdomen. He seemed surprised, and for the first time since he had seen Alex, his smile faded.
[Pity. Greed would have liked this one.]
‘She didn’t even hesitate! Get out of there now, Alex!’
Alex’s face contorted as he watched Encis collapse in front of him. The ice disappeared, leaving a hole almost a foot wide in his stomach. The blood flowed freely, soiling the grass beneath him. Alex's expressionless mask fell away, and pure and visceral rage overtook him.
[What is this, then? You had caught my eye before, boy. But now…]
When Alex replied this time, it was out loud, no longer thinking clearly enough to be subtle.
“Wrath, right? You said you could help me?”
‘Alex, no! You can’t!’
“Shut up, ALICE. Killing children wasn’t enough; they even slaughter their own comrades?”
He felt strength flowing into him. The pain in his leg vanished, and his vision actually went red, like in the stories. The woman was hurriedly preparing another spell and her guards were rushing forwards with swords drawn.
[I’ll give you a taste of my power. Give me a good show, boy.]
Somewhere at the back of his mind, Alex thought about that sci-fi movie series and the evil leader that talked about anger and power and darkness.
“I don’t care what devil I need to make a deal with. These people, and the ones in charge of them, are going to pay.”
That was when he blacked out.